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Old 04-06-2017, 12:08 PM   #1
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Bear Valley wildflower peeping

One of the best sites for viewing spring wildflowers in N. California is Bear Valley, located off Hwy 20 between Williams and Clear Lake. Early April is usually high time so yesterday a riding buddy and I took our NX250's on a nice 160 mile tour de blooms.

Map of the Bear Valley & Walker Ridge portion of the ride-



Warm weather and slightly cloudy skies greeted us as we left the little town of Winters and a mirror-like Lake Solano.



We took back roads through farmland and followed Hwy 16 through the always beautiful Capay Valley.



We passed through the tiny towns of Esparto, Capay, Brooks, Guinda, and Rumsey and 48 miles later crossed Hwy 20 and the start of Bear Valley Rd. All gravel, this scenic route starts out winding along the edge of a canyon with Bear Creek far below. Along the way a few poppies, lupine, and Western Redbuds built our hopes for bigger displays further along.



Approaching the main valley floor we hit pay dirt. It turned out the blooms were much less dramatic and varied than in some past years, but were a plenty good excuse to take a ride through this magical valley.







Bear Valley is home to just a few cattle ranches and much of the land is protected from development while still allowing grazing.





Taking a leisurely pace, we didn't mind waiting for these cowboys and their dogs to herd their cattle down the road a ways.



Underway again we carefully steered around cow flops and turned left onto Brim Road for a steep climb up to Walker Ridge.



Looking back down Brim Rd. toward Bear Valley -



Bunches of Indian Paintbrush decorated the roadside.



Once atop Walker Ridge we had our choice of stunning views in every direction. Whether the inviting road ahead . . .



Indian Valley Reservoir down below to the west . . .



Snow Mountain to the north . . .



or Bear Valley to the east with the Sutter Buttes barely visible poking through the haze, we enjoyed them all and did not see another soul since climbing out of Bear Valley.



Heading south toward Hwy 20 we savored our last ridge top views as the path wound steadily down.





Back on pavement, Hwy 16 took us home again with happy hearts and sore butts. All in all it was another day well spent on two wheels.



-Bill
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Old 04-06-2017, 12:31 PM   #2
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Bill, thanks for another awesome ride report and photos. Amazing that such "backcountry" is nearby.
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Old 04-06-2017, 01:02 PM   #3
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Very nice, Bill Next time, upload them larger than 1,000 pixel so our older eyes can see them better
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Old 04-06-2017, 01:15 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by ichabodnt650 View Post
Very nice, Bill Next time, upload them larger than 1,000 pixel so our older eyes can see them better
Thanks. What width would you suggest? Don't want people to have to scroll side to side. On my screens the 1000 pixel width pics take up over 3/4 of the screen width, is your browser downsizing them? Thanks for any insights you (or anyone else) have.

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Old 04-06-2017, 01:49 PM   #5
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Loving this Bill. I will have to take this route and explore more when I am back in town. Looks so fun!
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Old 04-06-2017, 02:35 PM   #6
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Great photos, great ride!
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Old 04-06-2017, 02:56 PM   #7
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Great report and photos! I've passed that turnoff at 20 & 16 a hundred times and wondered where that road went and what was there to see. Unfortunately, I don't have a bike that is suited to that type of road (FJR) or I would have done some exploring.

Thanks for the eye candy!

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Old 04-06-2017, 03:03 PM   #8
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Old 04-06-2017, 03:07 PM   #9
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Nice!
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Old 04-08-2017, 11:14 AM   #10
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Wow! Great post.

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Old 04-08-2017, 01:44 PM   #11
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Old 04-16-2017, 12:02 PM   #12
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Looks awesome. Great flowers. Have not been out that way. Can I come next time? wonder how those fields will look next weekend!
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Old 04-16-2017, 12:22 PM   #13
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Looks awesome. Great flowers. Have not been out that way. Can I come next time? wonder how those fields will look next weekend!
Hey stubble, definitely go check it out. There will be something blooming for another few weeks until the ground dries up, but it's always a beautiful place flowers or not. There will likely be a few mud holes along the lower part of Bear Valley Rd. depending on how much rain falls this week.

-Bill
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